Are you stuck between wanting a password that is secure but ending up with a gibberish password like h7huSpucruXaa for your bank, computer or email that you will never remember?

The IT industry has educated nagged users to have passwords that are complex and use mixed-case letters and numbers. But in reality these passwords can be quickly cracked by the computer and are too hard to be remembered by the user.

Another approach is to have pass-phrases rather than passwords. Pass-phrases or pass-sentences are longer (I have one that is nearly 40 characters) making them difficult to crack and much easier for the user to remember.

Photograph of GTRI researchers Joshua Davis, Richard Boyd, and Carl Mastrangelo

GTRI researchers Joshua Davis, Richard Boyd, and Carl Mastrangelo

The Georgia Tech Research Institute recently published data stating that the speed of a graphics video card processor’s ability to crack passwords renders a seven-digit password “hopelessly inadequate” and suggests any password shorter than 12 characters to be vulnerable.

Their advice would be to use a sentence instead, preferably one that includes numbers or symbols to make it more complex.  An example might be: “ChipsAnd2SausagesForDinner!”.

The future of passwords is a subject often looked at by IT experts as security becomes more and more of an issue.

Multi-factor security is one option – banks have already been using multi-factor authentication with smart cards, dongles and devices that look like calculators in addition to a password for several years. Other options include text messaging and apps on your mobile devices.

Bio-metrics is another with fingerprints, voice and facial recognition. The thought of these techniques can often lead to thoughts of Hollywood movies but they too are in use across the globe albeit not mainstream.

Security breaches are becoming more and more common, yet worryingly both small businesses and individuals are relaxed about the security of the data they store on their computers despite computer hackers targeting small firms as they are seen an easier target and a gateway to their larger clients.

If you need help or advice with the security of computer systems within your business please call us right away on 0845 004 3025.  It is only time before hackers penetrate a system or service and acquire data with devastating consequences.